World Poker Tour

World Poker Tour History

The World Poker Tour is a TV show that airs on the Travel Channel. It shows the six-player final tables of the WPT’s major tournaments and has drawn major interest and increased the popularity of poker. With play-by-play commentary, hole card cameras, and interesting and exotic locales, the WPT is one of the most popular poker TV programs.

Founding of the World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour was founded by Steven Lipscomb, an attorney and television producer, who is now the CEO of World Poker Tour Enterprises, the firm in charge of the WPT. The first season of the World Poker Tour began in late 2002, running through the early parts of 2003, culminating in the WPT Championship at the Bellagio Casino in April, 2003. The World Poker Tour has aired almost exclusively on the Travel Channel since its inception, although a special Battle of Champions event aired on NBC during the pre-game show of Super Bowl XXXVIII.

The World Poker Tour consists of Texas Holdem tournaments; there have been no other poker games played on the WPT. The casinos where WPT events are held and online poker sites are the main sponsors of the WPT.

The World Poker Tour Cast

Professional poker player Mike Sexton and actor Vince Van Patten are the play-by-play commentators for the World Poker Tour. Mike Sexton discusses the players’ strategies in-depth while Vince Van Patten provides entertaining and colorful comments to add to Mike’s analysis. The two make a very good team.

Some of the commentary is recorded live. The live commentary is usually discussion on a player’s tactics and what they are thinking. Comments on a player’s hole cards are recorded in post-production, as regulation prohibit anyone from viewing the hole card cameras while the tournament is in play.

Shana Hiatt served as the hostess and sideline reporter for the first three seasons of the WPT. Shana had a bitter departure from the WPT, suing them so that she could work for competing poker shows. Courtney Friel hosted the fourth season and Sabina Gadecki hosted the fifth.

Season Six

Season Six of the World Poker Tour is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2008. Layla Kaleigh will be the hostess for season six. The biggest change for season six is that the World Poker Tour will switch from the Travel Channel to the Game Show Network.

Playing in the World Poker Tour

In the World Poker Tour, as in most poker tournaments, anyone who can pay the buy-in is allowed to play. This is part of poker’s appeal, as you can play against the best poker players in the world, including Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey, just by paying out some hard cash.

Player of the Year

Each World Poker Tour event awards points to the top seven players in all open events. First place gets 1000 points, second gets 700, third gets 600, fourth place gets 500, fifth place gets 400, sixth get 300, and seventh place, which is the TV bubble, one spot short of making the TV broadcast, gets 200 points. The points are added at the end of a season and the player with the most points wins the Player of the Year Award.

The winners of the award, from season 1 thru season 5 are, in order, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Smith, and J.C. Tran.

Sherman Act Lawsuit

Seven professional poker players sued the World Poker Tour in 2006, citing violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. They sued saying that the release forms that the WPT requires are anti-competitive and interfere with a player’s ability to fulfill their contractual obligations to other companies, such as contracts with online poker sites. The forms also prevent the casinos hosting WPT events from hosting not WPT events. Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Annie Duke, and Andy Bloch are the pros who filed this lawsuit.

Professional Poker Tour

The Professional Poker Tour is a tournament series derived from the World Poker Tour. Unlike the WPT, the PPT has entry requirements, and as the name implies, professionals are most likely to fulfill the entry requirements, which are typically to have had strong performances in either the WPT or World Series of Poker.